Photo via NPCA
From a recent article on the National Precast Concrete Association blog, the growing interest and popularity of precast concrete use by architects was evident at the 2011 AIA National Conference – despite a Saturday morning, 7am presentation timeslot, Peter Seibert, Technical Director at Ductal® for Lafarge North America, the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the U.S. and Canada, packed the house for his presentation on “Sustainable Architectural Precast Elements for the 22nd Century.”
In his presentation, Seibert discussed the evolution of the precast product:
“By using precast UHPC (ultra-high performance concrete) elements, architects can design complex, thin shapes in a near endless number of colors and textures. Things that have never been possible before are now possible. By using a unique mix design containing fiber reinforcement, compressive strength in excess of 20,000 psi (possibly attaining 36,000 psi) can be achieved. The increased durability aspect of UHPC makes this material ideal for building precast elements with longevity in mind…Concrete has been around for centuries, but with the possibilities that precast creates and the growing number of ways it’s being used, the surface has only been scratched on what the future holds for the industry.”
With our own constant focus on the future of precast, Precast Specialties Corp. employs the latest technologies and sustainable practices to not only meet your precast concrete needs but contribute to the achievement of LEED points on you project and provide aesthetic design components through our products.
Aside from its sustainable benefits and contribution to LEED points for an overall project, there are numerous other practical reasons to select precast concrete for your building needs.
Low maintenance – Precast concrete is one of the most durable façade materials available. The panels’ resistance to staining (due to lack of moisture penetration), ease of joint inspection and extensive time allowed between required caulking (15 to 20 years) makes precast easy to maintain for decades.
Resistant to mold – As with the resistance to staining, precast’s lack of moisture penetration also means the concrete does not aid in the growth of mold spores. When designing with precast, Precast Specialties Corp. works closely with designers to create any additional water control systems to ensure rainwater is directed away from the building effectively to eliminate all residual moisture.
Ease of expansion – By using precast concrete systems, building expansion can be easily accomplished by either adding new adjoining spaces or merging a new space with the existing structure. If the existing space was created with panels, it may be possible to disconnect the non-loadbearing panels on the end of the wall and simply adding new panels and framing on each side to create a larger space. Furthermore, at Precast Specialties Corp., our range of finishes and surface textures means an unlimited array of options for the addition, easily able to reflect the original aesthetic look from the existing structure.
Financial savings - Precast concrete’s speed of construction can eliminate months from a construction schedule resulting in huge cost savings. By combining architectural and structural components into one product when possible, other project features can be minimized (ex. a smaller amount of footing may be required due to the thin cross-section of a precast concrete wall compared to a masonry design).
At Precast Specialties Corp., we partner with our customers to reduce their job costs and to help make their project run more smoothly. Simply put, we are committed to providing a superior quality architectural precast product and the highest level of customer service in the industry. Contact us today at 781-878-7220 to discuss what precast concrete can do for your next project.